She was a regular victim, the kind of person who flinched when she heard a loud noise, ducked when she passed beneath an airborne bird, stepped sideways in order to avoid each time she happened to pass by a pedestrian, puddle or crack. She looked for and expected (and here I'm talking about the worst) in everything. Forget good and better, forget fortuitous, forget fate being in your favour and good fortune... As far as she was concerned, it was always cloudy outside and it rained constantly. In her model of the world life was hard, living was tough, and it had been this way for so long now it was all that she could remember.

Poor Jane: it wasn't her fault; she had been bullied since high school. Her work life was simply more of the same. In fact, the bully at work was the very same bully from school, only bigger and more powerful now, and with the addition of a title. The title demanded respect and Jane, yet to earn one, had no alternative but to follow and to obey. She knew she was often led astray. She was aware that Sydney, the bully, held a grudge, although why, she couldn't give voice to. It wasn't something specific, as far as she could tell; more an ingrained loathing that bore no logic to anything fixed or substantial. The woman hated her equally as passionately as the girl had.

Daily she tried to win Sydney's respect, to gain her approval, to make friends; or at least to make peace with the demonic female on a level that allowed a lowering of intensity and frequency, that would perhaps dilute ferocity of the attacks. And daily she met with rebuff, departing at the end of the day with her tail held between legs and her head down and snivelling. She longed to let it go, to move on, to move up from the dark pit of today into the dimly lit cavern of tomorrow, but no matter how hard she tried and how often, there was no hint of escape.

Sydney, meanwhile, carried on regardless, blighted by her own personal misfortune. Her husband was a drunk who beat her senseless with a regularity that was almost nightly. She had suffered bruises and fractures and sprains since the evening of their marriage and over the years, despite her desperate pleas, nothing had changed. Dean was a bully just as she was, the only difference being, and this was as far as she was aware, there was no one else bullying him.

She knew she ought to let it go in relation to Jane. She knew she out to give the poor woman a break. But she couldn't. If she let go of her anger, her resentment, her loathing for something so pathetic and weak, then everything else would start unravelling. The only way to survive the bully was to be a bully herself, as awful and as evil and as hateful as that was. She wanted to but she couldn't let it go, she had insufficient rope to spare for letting. Jane was hers in the same way that she was Dean's.

And as for Dean..., well, maybe he was someone's bitch too. Who knows... In all honesty, just him and the bully. It is a closely guarded secret, as his treatment of Sydney is a secret between them. These things are held close. They are buried deep. They are protected with the same fierceness I which a mother protects her young.


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becsatherton (joined almost 14 years ago)
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I have always loved art and drawing has been an important part of my life ever since I can remember. Having creative parents provided me with the right genes and also meant that my naive dabblings were given plenty of encouragement. Growing up, our kitchen walls were lined with huge pinboards which displayed my work. I guess you could say that this was my first exhibition, my audience consisting of family and friends. To date – apart from school and university, where there was always a termly show – it remains the only one. Life interfered with other priorities and stole away my earlier confidence.
Since graduating, I have been a web designer, a graphic designer, a magazine editor, an art director, a copy writer, a literary consultant, a poet, an aspiring novelist, and many other less inspiring things. I have also founded a literary arts magazine called Inside Out, which published two issues before the recession hit.
For the last year, I have been hard at work writing and drawing and would now call myself a writer, poet, artist and illustrator. I use these mediums as ways to better understand myself and find them helpful in exploring and resolving personal problems. This was the focus of Inside Out, which promoted creativity for personal development and emotional well-being. One day I hope to qualify as a creative therapist, offering workshops and retreats and teaching this valuable skill to other individuals.

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fiction bullying


school husband hero Bully victim goal job boss


Prompt (write a story including these elements)

hero Just a regular person.
villain The one who always had it in for me, ever since school.
goal Let it go
Prompt suggested by DoctorMikeReddy


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